Forests in the Czech Republic are suffering. Frequent periods of prolonged draught have weakened trees, leaving them prone to harmful bark beetle infestation. Moreover, severe storms in recent months and years damaged large areas of woodland and foresters have had to cut down many more trees than the sawmills are able to process. As a result, the price of wood has now fallen to a half of what it was a year ago. Vít Pohanka met foresters and experts from several European countries at a seminar they held in Czechia.
The area of the Zlín region covered by special measures to counter African
swine fever has been reduced sharply.
The area covered from February 1 by special measures now covers just 40 percent of the Zlín district. The reduction was agreed by the European Commission following a Czech request.
Special measures had applied to the whole of the Zlín district from the middle of last year. Czech authorities are trying to stop the spread of the fever, which is fatal for pigs, from the population of wild boar to the livestock being raised on farms.
The Czech Republic has filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Justice against a new European Union directive restricting possession of firearms. The stated aim of the directive is to prevent terrorists gaining weapons easily, but Prague claims it will only hurt responsible arms holders and hunters.
Special measures have come into force in the Zlín region and other parts of Moravia in response to the first outbreak of African swine fever in the Czech Republic. Hunters are allowed to shoot all wild boar throughout the country and pig breeders will have to meet strict hygiene guidelines or else slaughter their animals by the end of July.
A proposed law which would triple the maximum fine for those who ignore bans on entering the forest or other areas because of hunting was given government support on Wednesday. The proposed new law has been drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and increases the fine to 30,000 crowns. A petition against the bill had been signed by around 46,000 people. Those in favour of the proposed changes argue that the fine would only be imposed for the most serious infringements.
The country’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Miroslav Kocián, a hunter who accidentally shot and killed a homeless man three years ago. Mr Kocián was sentenced to three years and two months in prison after a court originally ruled negligence had played a role. The hunter said he had mistaken the group of vagabonds in sleeping bags in a field for a deer. The Supreme Court heard the case in July but only released details of its decision now.
A new law due to come into force next year will make it possible to hunt wild boar of all ages and genders throughout the year, rather than from the start of August to the end of December as at present. The wild boar population has overbred in recent years due to mild winters and has been causing damages to farmers to the tune of billions of crowns.
The Agriculture Ministry has proposed extending the hunting season for wild boar and deer as a means of regulating their population levels. In the past few years the wild boar has overbred and is said to be causing extensive agricultural damage. Under the ministry’s proposal wild boar could be hunted all year round, deer from mid-August until the end of March. Around 180,000 wild boars are hunted down annually, but the population of around 60 thousand specimen remains stable.The proposed bill is being assesed by experts.
Uprooted earth, ruined fields, leftover bits of corn, beetroot and wheat gobbled up: each year, wild boars in the Czech Republic cause extensive damage. Legally, game keeping associations are responsible for the regulation of population levels; in the case of wild boar, many argue, new steps need to be taken. Last year, 185,000 specimens were hunted, yet damage remains in the millions of crowns.